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The Growing Outdoor Recreation Industry Means Mountains of Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

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 Summer is almost here! After the long winter, I’m thinking about getting outside as much as possible, whether that means backcountry hiking or lounging by the pool. I’m ready to soak up some sun! And I know I’m not alone. To kick off the “let’s get outside” season, we’re focusing on entrepreneurs who work in countless different ways in the great outdoors. It’s hardly surprising so many businesses are built around outdoor experiences -- after all, the outdoor recreation (OR) industry is growing faster than the U.S. economy with huge opportunities for enterprising entrepreneurs.

 

For the first time in U.S. history, the state of the outdoor recreation industry was measured by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Now an independent, government agency is tracking the economic contribution of activities like fishing, rock climbing and off-roading just as it measures the impact of construction, education and computer technology on our economy. Guess what? It turns out the impact is huge.

 

The OR industry employs more people than the computer technology and construction industries in the United States. That’s 7.6 million people whose jobs are tied directly or indirectly to people doing things outside. The industry makes up a whopping 2% of the total GDP of the U.S. and is growing at a rate of 3.8%. That’s faster than the overall U.S. economy rate of 2.8%!

 

Hikers, snowboarders, boaters, campers and even skateboarders all contribute to the economy when they spend time enjoying their favorite activity. The industry is growing at a healthy clip because each individual enthusiast helps support myriad related businesses. Consider the economic employment and economy impact of a single snowboarder on the industry: she needs to buy gear and lift tickets, which creates jobs for stores and mountain resorts (everything from merchandisers and sales people and to cooks, maintenance workers and lift mechanics), not to mention meteorologists and scientists to calculate weather and avalanche probability and medics on hand to treat injuries. All this business translates to real opportunity for the entrepreneur, too.

 

“Demand for advanced outdoor technical apparel, footwear and equipment drives innovation and entrepreneurism,” writes the Outdoor Industry Association in their latest outdoor recreation economy report. With this in mind, we’ll be talking to outdoor-minded entrepreneurs during the coming month to learn how they got into the business, what challenges they face and how they are capitalizing on the growing outdoor industry.

 

Coming up, we’ll find out about:

 

  • An entrepreneurial family from the Black Hills of South Dakota who operates a year-round RV resort catering to off-road clientele
  • A guiding company reaching out to diverse populations to get them outdoors
  • Mountain guides and outdoor outfitters
  • Outdoor camps for kids and adults
  • Why the outdoor industry has some of the best product guarantees of any industry
  • How entrepreneurs like you can benefit from spending time outside

 

And that’s just for starters!

 

As we dive into this season we hope that the long days and warm weather inspire you to get outside for a little recreation or even to just work al fresco. Let us know in the comments how you take your work outside in these warmer months. Happy summer to all!

 

Warmly,

 

Leslie

8 Comments
Momentum to $1 Million Host

Re: The Growing Outdoor Recreation Industry Means Mountains of Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

Love this @LeslieBarber! On Fridays, my laptap always asks me to work from my backyard deck, so I'm glad that it's officially called "working al fresco"!! Yay for summer!! 

Content Creator

Re: The Growing Outdoor Recreation Industry Means Mountains of Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

Living in Seattle it is very apparent that the outdoors recreation industry is thriving! Of course, living right between ocean and mountains means loads of outdoor opportunities, but then there's this local joke that riffs on how outdoor gear is worn as everyday apparel here -- Seattleites dress like they are reading to go hiking at a moment's notice -- which is pretty true! 

Content Leader

Re: The Growing Outdoor Recreation Industry Means Mountains of Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

I'm sitting at my desk, gazing outside at another sunny, blue-sky day in Northern California. Thanks to my laptop and my mobile phone, there's no compelling reason for me to be inside on this beautiful day. On the other hand, I worry my productivity will slip if I try to work AND get some vitamin D. How do others get fresh air and keep up with everything every day? @JulieatTheWELL @SarahGonzales @LeslieBarber @jessbru99568@TheDotConnector@Wit@cruberti@jmisunas @Thehvacguys?

Momentum to $1 Million Host

Re: The Growing Outdoor Recreation Industry Means Mountains of Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

In a word, GRATITUDE! Being grateful for the ability to go outside, do your work, AND serve the world is a huge gift! When you're grateful, focus flows. Now go take that laptop outside  @WillowOlder!!! Smiley Happy

Established Member

Re: The Growing Outdoor Recreation Industry Means Mountains of Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

Everyone's work habits and ability to focus is different.  If you can work outside and be productive -- do it. If you need to just be outside for a little while to refresh, and that helps you focus when you go back in and crank out some work, that's fine too. Me? When I'm outside in nature, I'm there because I want to enjoy it and so try my best not to focus on work. As described above, it does help me focus and get back in to be productive. But what I've found works best for me is a hybrid -- finding a workspace that feels more focused, yet allows me to experience the outdoors (the screen room at my house, a table at an outdoor cafe, etc.). One thing that is definitely not productive -- being inside and yearning to be outside but feeling trapped; better to take 10 or 15 minutes out in the fresh air for a dose of Vitamin D than convince yourself that being chained indoors is the only answer.  Where there's a will there's a way -- you just need to experiment to figure out which way works best for you. So, get outside and experiment, @WillowOlder

 

Frequent Contributor

Re: The Growing Outdoor Recreation Industry Means Mountains of Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

I absolutely love being outdoors! I have a garden this summer that I make sure to spend at least an hour everyday working in it. I also get breaks to let out our dogs! Smiley Happy That gives some fresh air and excercise. We also do open air markets, I really enjoy them alot. Smiley Happy

Established Member

Re: The Growing Outdoor Recreation Industry Means Mountains of Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

Hello everyone, It's been busy on this side. I love working outdoors, it's nice I can dispatch someone from my mobile device to help someone have a nice cool home or office. Smiley Happy

Content Creator

Re: The Growing Outdoor Recreation Industry Means Mountains of Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

@Thehvacguys I hear it's very hot and humid down your way! My extended family all lives in the Whittier, CA area, and I remember spending summers with my grandparents there just sweating while trying to fall asleep. It was miserable! We finally talked my stubborn grandpa into an air conditioner and it made SUCH a difference. It was cooler, obviously, but everyone was in SUCH a better mood, too!